Turner Field farewell: Heyward says goodbye on MLB.TV
Lester starts for Chicago; Urias steps into spotlight for NL West rivalry
By Chad Thornburg
With the 2016 MLB Draft in the books, the spotlight is back on the field with a full 15-game slate to finish out an eventful weekend in baseball.
Among those contests, the Cubs' Jason Heyward will play his final game at Turner Field, the ballpark where he homered in his first Major League at-bat six years ago. Heyward called Turner Field home for the first five seasons of his career, and now returns for the last time wearing a visiting uniform as the park will no longer be the site of Braves home games after the 2016 season.
Heyward's Turner Field farewell, which features a start by Chicago's Jon Lester, is just one of many intriguing matchups available for streaming live on MLB.TV. Several division rivalries will also be on display along with outings by the Rangers' Cole Hamels, the Mets' Steven Matz and Detroit Rookie of the Year candidate Michael Fulmer.
MLB.TV Premium returns with the same features as last year, but at $109.99, it is a full 20 bucks cheaper than the 2015 cost. This package has the best value and provides access to more than 400 devices and a free subscription to the MLB.com At Bat Premium app (a $19.99 value). It offers the best picture quality ever -- a new 60 frames per second -- for supported devices. Monthly signups for MLB.TV Premium are now underway as well for $24.99.
The new MLB.TV Single Team package is also now available as an $84.99 yearly subscription. You can watch a single team's live out-of-market games in full HD.
Here's what to watch for throughout the day (all times in ET):
Lester looks to keep rolling: CHC@ATL, 1:35 p.m.
Lester will try to extend his 16-inning scoreless streak in a series finale vs. the Braves. The left-hander has yielded just one run through two starts this month and pitched at least eight innings in each. He's struck out 19 batters in June and has yet to issue a walk.
While Lester goes for the Chicago, Atlanta's John Gant will make his first Major League start. Gant is filling in for Williams Perez, who landed on the 15-day disabled list with right rotator cuff tendinitis earlier this week.
Stat that matters: Heyward has struggled at the plate lately, batting .219 (16-for-73) over his last 19 games, but a matchup against Gant could prove productive. Gant is allowing a .435 average to left-handed batters through seven big league outings.
Rookie sensation: DET@NYY, 2:05 p.m.
Detroit's Fulmer has been among the best pitchers in baseball of late, tossing three consecutive scoreless outings for a Tigers rookie-record 22 1/3 scoreless innings streak. Fulmer hasn't surrendered a run since May 21.
"He really has been dominant," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He's been our best pitcher, probably, over the last 3 1/2 weeks, whatever that stretch is. I don't know that I would've predicted it from a young pitcher like that coming up, but he's done an excellent job."
For the Yankees, Michael Pineda will take the ball. He appears to have turned a corner in June, rebounding from a tough first two months of the season to toss back-to-back solid outings. Pineda is coming off his longest start of the year, a seven-inning win vs. the Angels. The right-hander credits a mechanical tweak -- pitching from a lower arm angle -- for his renewed success.
Stat that matters: Fulmer has been especially tough on left-handed hitters of late, limiting them to a .075 (3-for-40) average over the last 30 days, which ranks first among all qualified starting pitchers.
Matz looks to rebound: NYM@MIL, 2:10 p.m.
Matz suffered a rare loss -- his second of the season -- his last time out vs. the Pirates in Game 1 of Tuesday's doubleheader. The left-hander admitted he had "nothing out there today," but still struck out eight and limited the Bucs to just two runs. Even as his seven-game winning streak came to an end, he extended his streak of consecutive starts with two or fewer earned runs allowed to nine. Milwaukee will counter with the red-hot Zach Davies, who is 3-0 with a 1.74 ERA over his last three starts after posting a 5.75 mark across his first seven.
Stat that matters: Matz has succeeded by keeping the ball on the ground this year, particularly against lefties. Out of 34 balls in play vs. left-handed hitters, 28 have been grounders. That's an 82.4 percent rate, which leads all qualifiers.
Urias joins California rivalry: LAD@SF, 8:30 p.m.
Today's games conclude under the lights with Sunday Night Baseball, featuring a pair of National League West foes, the Dodgers and Giants. Dodgers top prospect Julio Urias (No. 2 overall, according to MLB Pipeline) will get his first taste of this heated rivalry when he takes the mound at AT&T Park for his fourth Major League start. The 19-year-old, who will be on a 90-pitch limit, will be tested on the road yet again vs. the Giants, having already faced the Mets in New York and the Cubs in Chicago.
"Those are some of the best teams in all of baseball," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "But we believe, if he pitches well and executes, which he's been doing increasingly with each start, it will be a great atmosphere, and we expect he'll rise to the occasion."
Jake Peavy will toe the rubber for San Francisco, looking to continue his rebound from a brutal April (8.61 ERA). He posted a 4.73 ERA across six May starts, but allowed four runs in a loss to the Cardinals his last time out.
Stat that matters: Urias hasn't had the easiest adjustment to the big leagues. Including today's matchup, his first four Major League opponents -- the Giants, Rockies, Cubs and Mets -- boast a combined 142-104 record this season. That's good for a .577 winning percentage.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers get the Mosaic View -- split screen or quad, available on PC or Mac only. That always comes in handy, especially when scoreboard-watching looms. MLB.TV Premium and MLB.TV Single Team subscribers both enjoy HD and both will get real-time highlights and player stats automatically loaded moments after they occur (only for the game you are watching with MLB.TV Single Team, and for all games with MLB.TV Premium).
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.